We in this industry have faced difficult times in the past . But never have we together with the country and the world faced such difficult , disturbing , disillusioning and depressing times and circumstances like we have been facing during the last one and a half years with the unexpected and entirely cruel attack of the Coronavirus.
Ali Peter John
Filmmaking companies with a big names and smaller companies have already closed down or are on the verge of being shut . All production activities came to a halt during the first wave and hundreds and thousands of small and big actors, directors writters, music directors , song writters, technicians , dancers , junior artists and all kinds of daily wage earners had to face the grim reality of losing their jobs and seeing no early relief . from the fire financial straits they and their families were reduced to with hopelessness , hunger and homelessness sharing them in their scared faces
There was some relief when the lockdown and it’s restrictions were eased in September and filmmakers rushed to take best advantage of the changed situation . New films like Shah Rukh Khan’s “Pathan” , Akshay Kumar’s “Ram Setu” , Ajay Devgn’s ” Midday” and Ekta Kapoor’s ” Goodbye” were launched with high hopes . Some of the big films like “Suryavanshi” and” Radhe , your best Bhai” which were stalled were started again and some producers even announced the dates of their release. There was a new ray of light and those who were the happiest were the junior artists and ordinary workers who had lived through hell for more than a year . Theatres and multiplexes had opened with restrictions , but the footfalls were not encouraging . Some optimistic producers and directors got busy planning films for the future . But the only ones were the audience which was still scared about patronising theatres and multiplexes ……
But the balloon of hope bust in March when the second wave hit India in a much more dangerous way and all the excitement of seeing hope for the industry died down and as the number of cases keeps surging , the hopes of anything good happening in the industry went back ito the condition that was there in March 2020 and grew even worse . And as of now every activity associated with films has come to a complete standstill . ….
Does this gloomy and sad situation mean that the industry will not fight back to regain its lost glory and life ? We don’t think so , because the industry will find a way or ways out to overcome the darkness and lead itself to a new era of hope and good health .
Several talks with experienced men and women who have dedicated their lives to films and the industry have shown that there are people who have practical ideas to save the face of the industry ….
If there is one way in which the industry can overcome it’s problems , it is the creation of good content . There is a strong belief that only those films which have the kind of subjects that will appeal to all have a chance of bringing in audience and in the bargain bringing in the money which is so very essential to make the industry flourish . There have been some attempts to focus on good subjects, but a few attempts are what we don’t need , we will have to start a movement to make people aware of the need for subjects that will appeal to the heart and mind .
The other essential thing to have and effective industry are good single screen theatres and multiplexes and exhibitors who will play a fair game . It has been noticed that exhibitors and theatre owners treat small and unpublisised films and films with new faces in a very shabby and humiliating ways. The smaller films are given theatres in places which don’t have an audience for the films released , and even if they are given a release , it is never in the prime shows, but in one or maybe two shows during odd hours . This attitude will have to and must change .
The OTT platforms are seen as the new hope , but they have to screen the right kind of films and not use their platforms to release controversial and vulgar films which is slowly becoming the in thing in the OTT world . They must realise that good Web films like “Angrezi Medium” Ashram,” Patal Lok” and Sacred Games were huge successes, while “Sadak2 and many other downright bad films were cruelly rejected by the family audience at home
The veteran filmmaker and distributor , Pahlaj Nihalani who has just completed his 26 th film in just two months during the lockdown is the one man who has a unique idea to release films on Television according to the schedules films were released , ” the 12 , 3 , 6 and 9 shows and he is sure that the advertisements and the audience both will patronise these shows whether they are for new films or old films.
The other crucial factor is the prices of the stars . There is a strong section of filmmakers who believe that the stars are being paid much more than they deserve and stand no guarantee about their names and popularity to bring in the audience . Many filmmakers who we talked to said that it was the right time to bring in a number of newcomers and make good films with them and tha experiment could succeed ” because all the stars of today were also newcomers once” .
And more than anything else , the industry will have to bring back that feeling of being like one family, which was a reality not so long ago . All controversies ,all calling of bad names and all vilification and maligning of people and companies should stop with immediate effects and the habit of washing dirty linen in public will have to be treated as a crime if proved.
These are not dreams or ambitious plans . They are constructive ideas formed by interested and positive thinking people . The earlier these ideas are put into practice the better for the industry and for its extended “family”. And there is no better time to reflect on these ideas than the time we are living in and have very little to do , thanks to Coronavirus .
Do you think , it is not possible to build a new industry with a strong foundation ? Then think of the line written by the poet Dr Harivanshrai Bachchan in which he writes , ” koshish karnewaalo ki kabhi haar nahi hoti ” . And then think about what Sahir Ludhianvi said sixty years ago….. ” Wo subah aayegi , wo subah hum hi laayenge”